When we gather as a group, these are some ways we ensure the best group discussion:
We make the circle safe by staying honest and transparent - leave the masks at the door.
We keep it inside the circle. Each person’s story is theirs alone to share.
We look to the Bible for wisdom and truth, and work together to let it shape how we see the world.
We don’t try to fix each other in front of each other or give unsolicited advice. We lovingly save hard conversations for private moments.
We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
It’s Mission’s birthday, which means… happy birthday to ALL of us! Church has never been a building, a service, or a program… it’s always been people!
In Luke 14, Jesus tells his followers that when they throw a party, it should be for the people who can’t pay them back - those who are overlooked and under-celebrated - so that’s what we are doing as a church for our birthday!
Michael Chitwood from World Vision told us that since God is close to the broken-hearted, that is where we should be as well. When we step into others’ pain, we get to be a part of the joy that comes from God’s definition of “family”.
Remember, the questions are not a checklist to be completed, or in the perfect order! They’re simply guardrails to help you have a natural discussion about what we learned on Sunday.
The other side of the world
Many of us grew up knowing pain and struggle - but at the same time, not many of us grew up knowing the state of many parts of the world. Child mortality rates at 50%, more slaves than any time in history, kids being trafficked into armies, and so much more is happening outside of our Western world.
Did you grow up knowing much about the immense pain being experienced by so many in the world?
When you first found out about that pain, how did it affect you?
Avoiding pain at all costs
Michael said that he believes people do everything they can to avoid pain at all costs - ours or others’.
How do you see that reflected in the world and culture around you?
Michael said that although he knew God had been prompting him to move to Haiti and help kids that needed it, he gave in to fear and decided to stay home. He said that over the next few years, he learned that every amazing that God has for us to do in this life is on the other side of fear.
What greater purpose, calling, or invitation from God to do something amazing has fear or lack of safety kept you from going after?
Read Psalm 34:15-18 for context.
Has an event or season of life shaken or shattered your faith in God?
Psalm 34 says that God is close to the broken-hearted - and even Michael said that it was in the midst of his pain that God spoke to him the most clearly. Has pain brought you closer to God?
Grief is an important process, and it can’t be rushed. But at the same time, we can get so stuck in our grief or pain that it’s all we can think about. But when pain has the final word in our story, it keeps us from the joy on the other side.
It’s always a choice to lean into God when we are in pain - it’s not easy or natural. What has that looked like for you when you’ve struggled? Or if you’re struggling now, what are you struggling to do that you think would bring you closer to God?
Relieving the pain of others
There is often very little we can do about our own pain, but there is always something we can do to relieve the pain of others.
What experiences have you had being a part of relieving someone’s pain?
What does stepping into someone else’s pain do for your own pain? How does helping someone else change how you see your own life or your own struggles?
Other people’s kids
Michael shared that he has come to the conviction that there is no such thing as “other people’s kids”, because God wants to create a family that’s united by His love. It doesn’t mean that we feel the same about other kids as we do about our own, but it does mean that we learn to love them as best we can. God wants to redefine what we consider “family”.
Who are some kids that aren’t “yours”, but you love and care for?
Why is this such an important message if we actually want to do something about all the pain in the world?
When everyone has someone to care for, everyone gets cared for
One of the foundations of Group Launch (and groups at Mission in general) is that “when everyone has someone to care FOR, then everyone GETS cared for.”
This phrase, and the idea that there is “no such thing as other people’s kids”, is not just a feel-good idea. It’s not a sentiment. It’s actually a full-out battle on the self-centeredness that plagues every single human being.
Seem a little intense? :) Look throughout history - the whole story of the world has been one of self-preservation. Humans lean toward survival mode constantly, which means caring for ourselves and then by extension, those that can help me.
That’s the essence of why Jesus was a new and different kind of human. God becoming man, Creator becoming creation, the perfect and ideal human dying in the place of the flawed, broken ones.
And he invited us into that same kind of life - a life with ME removed from the center. A life that revolves around the “me BESIDE me”. A life that trusts not only that God will take care of me, but that God will use someone ELSE to take care of me.
So this is not just a feel-good idea - it’s not a catchy concept that sells sponsorships. It’s an offensive against the self-preservation we’re all prone to, forcing us toward the love that God has not only FOR us, but wants to send THROUGH us to every single person that HE loves so desperately.
Because whether or not they’re ours… they’re definitely HIS.
Expressing our love for God
Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 for context.
How we respond to the pain of others is one of the most important tasks in front of us if we want to follow Jesus.
Think about the pain that friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers around you are experiencing - how can you take a step toward them in their pain? What threatens to keep you from stepping toward their pain?
We had the chance to be a part of an incredible party that is happening in Kenya this week! Hundreds of kids will have the chance to choose a sponsor from Mission that they want to begin a relationship with, and next week we will find out who chose us!
Did you get a chance to participate in the Chosen Celebration and become a kids’ sponsor? What did that choice mean to you?
Is there anything holding you back from participating?